Common Deviated Septum Symptoms

How do I know if I have a deviated septum?  What symptoms do most people experience when they have a deviated septum? After hitting my nose, I feel like it's a little crooked up high (only noticeable to me) and my nose gets really stuffed up when I sleep.  I also think right after it happened my eyes looked like the dark circles that are normally there got a little worse.  The tip of my nose gets a little sore sometimes too.

Doctor Answers 26

Symptoms of septal deviation

Deviated septums can generate a variety of symptoms and sometimes none at all (asymptomatic).

Generally a deviated septum may:

  1. Cause external visible deviation (a crooked or twisted nose also called a c-shaped deformity)
  2. Deviation of the tip
  3. Make one nostril appear larger than the other
  4. Cause obstructive symptoms
  5. Be associated with sinus congestion
  6. Be worse with swelling at night
  7. Be worse with swelling casued by alterations in the autonomic nasal cycle
  8. Be aggravated by allergic conditions

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Deviated Septum 101

The nasal septum is the midline partition of cartilage and bone that separates one side of the nose from the other. Normally, the septum is straight. When it is crooked, it is termed a deviated septum. A deviated septum can block the nasal passage and contribute to symptoms of nasal obstruction. If the septum is deviated to one side, then patients will have difficulty breathing out of that side. It is possible to have a septum that is deviated or buckled in more than one direction. This can cause nasal obstruction on both sides.

Septoplasty, is the name for the surgery used to correct nasal obstruction resulting from a deviated (crooked) septum. Because a septoplasty does not change the shape of the nose, it is not considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually covered by health insurance.

A septoplasty is performed by making an incision on the inside of of the nose. The nasal lining covering the septum is lifted off of the septum. The portion of the septum that blocks the nasal passage is usually removed or relocated to relieve the obstruction.

There are other reasons that patients have symptoms of nasal obstruction. These include enlargement of the turbinates or collapse of the mid-portion of the bridge or the nostril sidewalls. Fortunately, each of these problems can be corrected surgically at the time of a rhinoplasty or septoplasty.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Deviated Septum Symptoms

The most common symptom of a deviated nasal septum is a static nasal obstruction. It means the obstruction is always there and does not vary. The other type can be a dynamic obstruction caused by swelling of the turbinate glands inside the nose. These swell up with allergies, infections, hormonal changes etc.

Here is a test. You can get some Oxymetazolin spray over the counter and spray your nose. If it completely opens it, then you have dynamic or physiologic obstruction related to your turbinate glands. If the obstruction persists, then it is from a deviated septum. Typically it obstructs only one side only.

Note: Please do not use Oxymetazolin regularly in your nose as it can cause tolerance and chronic nasal obstruction called rhitis medicamentosa.

Your best option is to see an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, Throat doctor) to determine the cause of your nasal obstruction.

The deviation (crookedness) of the nose can be completely separate from the deviated septum issue. The sore tip should get better with time.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

A nose doctor can tell you if you have a deviated septum

The number one symptom of a deviated septum is nasal blockage. A deviated septum is a very common problem. But, just because you have nasal blockage does not mean that you have a deviated septum. Other causes of nasal blockage include swollen sinuses, enlarged inferior turbinates (the "heat pumps" of your nose), enlarged adenoids, sinus and nose polyps, and many others. To know why you have nasal blockage, you need to have your nose examined!

There are some clues that would suggest that you have a deviated septum. If your nose is really crooked, or if your nostrils are uneven, there is a good chance that you do have one.

But why guess? A nose specialist can examine you and tell you for sure.

Most of the time, the reason for nasal blockage is benign. But nose specialists occasionally find a problem that is more concerning and that requires treatment right away.

Daniel G. Becker, MD
Voorhees Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Septal Deviation Symptoms

The most common symptoms of deviated septum include;

  • Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils
  • recurrent or chronic sinus infections
  • Nasal drainage or post nasal dripping
  • Noisy breathing
  • crusting
  • nasal bleeding

A board certified rhinoplasty surgeon with extensive training is best suited to address your problem

Direct or indirect examination of the nose as well as CT scan can be used to determine the extent of septal deviation.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 197 reviews

Deviated septum difficulty breathing

Deviated Septum does not need surgery unless it causes breathing issues or leads to a crooked noes. It is rare for septum to be completely straight, and most mild deviations cause no symptoms. If you are having breathing difficulty through your nose or have noticed a change in the shape of your nose, it may be appropriate to consult a board certified plastic surgeon.

Shahriar Mabourakh, MD, FACS
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Learn the 3 most common symptoms indicating a deviated septum.

The biggest indicator of a deviated septum is nasal blockage that happens primarily on one side of the nose (right or left) and does not fluctuate. This may or may not be in conjunction with a crooked nose and uneven nostrils. It’s best to visit a family doctor or a walk-in clinic to have a physician take a look and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

If you are wanting to change your nose cosmetically, it is a good idea to consider having a deviated septum repair and cosmetic work done simultaneously. If this were the case, I would see you at my Vancouver cosmetic surgery practice and perform both procedures after a thorough consultation.

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Very likely a deviated septum

Hello. Your story is pretty typical for a patient with a deviated septum. The next step is to go see a rhinoplasty surgeon to get a full evaluation. Good luck.

Marcelo Ghersi, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Deviated septum

Although you may see some crookedness on the bridge of the nose, this isn't necessarily a deviated septum. You will beed a physical exam with an intra nasal exam using a speculum to see the deviation of a septum. imaging can also help. Difficulty with breathing is a multi factorial problem and not only from deviated septums. I would look for a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in noses. 

Sergio Alvarez, MD
Doral Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 333 reviews

Deviated septum

A deviated septum can be seen on an examination and a CT scan as well.  Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.